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Subject: Why do publishers use multiple imprints? rss

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Andrew
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I've been curious about this for a while. I just found out that eggertspiele is owned by Plan B games. Plan B games also just launched a secondary imprint, Next Move games. So in this case, we have three 'publishers' which are all actually one group.

Now, I can understand why acquisitions merit keeping separate imprints: in the case of Z-Man games (with Asmodee) or eggertspiele (with Plan B), there's probably some merit in keeping an established brand separate. And this can explain why Asmodee, for example, has FFG for primarily licensed, thematic games, and Z-Man games for offerings like their Euro Classics line.

But I'm more baffled by the 'launch' of Next Move games -- why create a separate imprint for the purposes of publishing a certain type of game? Why not just have a series, like the Kosmos 2-player series, or the Alea big box series -- why does Plan B need to launch an entire imprint, Next Move Games.

I'm not bashing their move, I'm legitimately asking the question -- why do publishers launch various imprints like this? Isn't it beneficial for publishers to have a larger catalog of games? Why split Plan B/Next Move when we're only talking three or four games at this point?

Similarly, why don't publishers eventually try to pare down individual brands? Is there any evidence of publishers consolidating all of their brands and subbrands down to a more manageable number? In my opinion, that would be a good thing for fans: I'd already decided that Plan B, for example, was on my "nice" list and was a publisher I'd definitely check out more often. Now we have Next Move, which is different somehow, or is it? Should I afford it the same prestige in my head?

Why have two names at all?
 
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Bryan Thunkd
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aaj94 wrote:
Why have two names at all?
Companies will often have different imprints when they plan on aiming at different market segments. For example, they might aim one line as a premium line with consistently better quality, components, etc at a much higher price, while aiming the other as a more economical line at an affordable price, but with more sensible components and quality. You wouldn't want to confuse customers by trying to sell both lines under the same name. Alternatively you might want to use different imprints to segment different game types, separating one imprint for party games and another for Eurogames.
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JPotter
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Branding, and design / production / marketing / distribution efficiencies.

Same reasons any company/corporation does this in any field.

GM still produces under 6 brand names. Only 6, after acquiring/developing and retiring dozens.
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Jeff Saxton
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Hiding assets from the tax people, so as to make it harder to actually track what is really happening within a parent company. Accounting chicanery to shift profits and losses around so as to pay less taxes.
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Brian Brazil
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Thunkd wrote:
Companies will often have different imprints when they plan on aiming at different market segments. For example, they might aim one line as a premium line with consistently better quality, components, etc at a much higher price, while aiming the other as a more economical line at an affordable price, but with more sensible components and quality. You wouldn't want to confuse customers by trying to sell both lines under the same name. Alternatively you might want to use different imprints to segment different game types, separating one imprint for party games and another for Eurogames.

An example that comes to mind is Wizards of the Coast, which is owned by Hasbro.

The Hasbro brand is associated with family-weight games, so they continued to brand MtG and D&D and other properties as WoC. I couldn't imagine seeing the Hasbro brand on the back of a D&D book. In addition, they seem to use the WoC brand for the Betrayal line, presumably because it's a heavier game.

(This is, of course, speculation; I'm not sure what the specifics of Hasbro's branding is, but it seems logical)
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Bryan
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In my line of work this is very common. The big companies buy out all the smaller companies, but keep the names (being well known or established on their own). They bid on the same project under 5 different names just to increase their chances of getting it.

How this works in the board game world is really unknown to me. I guess if someone gets a bad taste in their mouth about a certain company, they'll still go to that same company under a different name? Maybe they're adding to an illusion of diversity so people don't start to hate them, because everyone hates monopolies (and monopoly).
 
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TonyKR
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Funny that you mention Alea as an example of how to do it, as that is actually an imprint of Ravensburger.

As for why it's done, as mentioned, it's so that a larger publisher can market/target their games to different sets of consumers. And it's often very successful (see the Alea example above). Also, internally, they often operate as totally separate divisions from each other, complete with different management, budgets, financial goals, etc.
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Shawn Harriman
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Sometimes it is temporary.

Buying competition to then wring out any value and discard them is a common business tactic.

"If you can't beat em, buy em"

 
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Andrew
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Thanks all, this makes sense, though I still find it confusing

Pugnax555 wrote:
Funny that you mention Alea as an example of how to do it, as that is actually an imprint of Ravensburger.

As for why it's done, as mentioned, it's so that a larger publisher can market/target their games to different sets of consumers. And it's often very successful (see the Alea example above). Also, internally, they often operate as totally separate divisions from each other, complete with different management, budgets, financial goals, etc.


Aha, see, I had no idea that was the case! Although it makes sense because I've heard Ravensburger in conjunction with many of those games.
 
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Bill Cook
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It also has to do with internal corporate structure I suspect
 
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